Living In a Property Owned By Your Partner

3 May 2024 | Lauren Gaines
Living together

Table of Contents

I live in a property owned by my partner – what are my rights if we are not married?

There is no automatic right to property your partner owns if you are not married, regardless of how long you have lived together. Often the term “common law spouse” / “common law partner” is used in society to describe couples who live together and are not married, and it is a common misconception that “common law partners” automatically gain the right to a share of the property their partner owns, simply because they live together. This is a myth. Sadly this worrying misconception means that people do take legal advice before they move in together or financially contribute towards a property that they do not own (or do not expressly have an interest in), and the reality of what their rights might be, if any, can come as a horrible shock sometimes many years later, if the relationship breaks down.

Person named on the title deeds is the legal owner

The starting position is that the person named on the title deeds is the legal owner. Therefore, if your partner owns a property and you live together, the starting position will be that they own 100% of the property and you do not have any interest in it.

This remains the case even if:

  • you have lived together for a long time;
  • you have contributed towards the utility bills, or any bills you would expect to pay even if you were renting; and
  • even if you have children together.

If you have directly contributed towards the property purchase, renovation works or the capital mortgage repayments, this fact alone does not automatically mean you have established an interest the property. Whether you can establish a right to a share of the property in these circumstances depends if you are able to evidence an understanding between you and your partner that you have a financial interest in the property and you have relied on this understanding, to your disadvantage. Your financial contributions to the property could help to evidence the latter point. It is possible to evidence this understanding even if it was not set out clearly in writing, however it can be tricky, and depends on your specific circumstances.

Legal advice and support

If you are:

  • Considering moving in with a partner who owns the home you are to live in;
  • Currently living with a partner who owns the home;
  • Separating from your partner who owns the home;

Get in touch to ensure you are clear on your rights and what steps to take. We have specialist lawyers who advise on cohabitation agreements and cohabitation disputes.

If you are considering marriage, we can also advise on what this would mean for you financially and whether instead, a prenuptial agreement is advisable.

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